Saturday, May 28, 2011

Birthday Boy & Cakes

Happy 32nd birthday to my amazing, wonderful, handsome, loving husband!!

I love you Dave. xoxo

And in honour of Dave's birthday here are some birthday cakes! He has already had 3 cakes this year (a chocolate mint mudcake, a baked cheesecake and a sponge cake!) so I figured that I don't need to make him another one.

(Dave, feel free to pick one for next year!)

Kit Kat Cake found here

The following cakes are all from Annie's Eats
Tuxedo Cake

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Layer Cake

Tripple Chocolate Mousse Cake

S'mores Cake

Cookies and Cream Cake

This Rainbow Cake is from Love and Olive Oil

Now for some cupcakes!! I don't know anyone who can pass up on these cute, tasty morsels of cake!

The Following are all from My Baking Addiction
Red Velvet Cupcakes

Nutella Cupcakes

And for something a little less chocolaty, Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon-Blueberry Buttercream

Hope that satisfies any sweet tooth's out there. Me, I'm going to jump on the treadmill coz I'm pretty sure I put on 5kg just looking at these pictures!

Happy Birthday again to Dave. I love you with all my heart!

note: i also linked up with Kelly's Korner Show us your life.

Friday, May 27, 2011

USA Travel Update 3

We are now under 5 weeks to departure, and I have no doubt that these last weeks will fly by. I am so excited about all that we will see and do, but since we first purchased our plane tickets I have wanted this trip to be much more than just another holiday.

I want to do more than just see the sights and eat a whole lot of food.

I want to meet people and hear their stories.

I want to marvel at the magnificence of natural wonders and Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and the Smokey Mountains.

I want to make incredible memories with Dave.

I am definitely going to enjoy eating a lot of food (Mexican, New York bagels, ice-cream) and I plan on shopping up a storm since the Aussie dollar is so good.

But I want it to be more.

I want to be changed by the people we meet and the places we see. I want to be drawn closer to God through the experience. I want my marriage to be strengthened by in car sing-alongs, and shared discoveries along the way (and the fact that we will be together for 53 days straight with very little time to ourselves!) I want to deepen our friendships with the Lum's and O'Kelly's.

Admittedly, I am really looking forward to not feeling cold for 7 weeks too. Being able to wear shorts and summer dresses will be bliss!

I have also added another scenic stop to our trip - hopefully we'll be able to fit it in. Antelope Canyon, AZ. The pictured on the web are incredible. Luckily it's not too far from the north rim of the Grand Canyon, so we should be able to see those stunning rock formations in person.

I cannot wait to give my camera a good workout - I'm so glad we purchased a DSLR to take with us. I can't wait to start putting up photo's that I have taken of famous landmarks, the places I have been dreaming of for so long.

We feel so blessed to be able to make this trip!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Great Many Things

My sister and I watched Little Women about a million times when we were growing up. The version with Susan Sarandon, Claire Danes and Winona Ryder. We watched it so often that we wore out the video.

Yes, the video, back in the day when videos were the height of technology.

So we wore it out. We taped it off the TV once onto a blank video. We wore that one out too.

We eventually bought it on DVD.

None of that is the point of this post!

There is one scene in it, where Jo is told by a man she should have been a lawyer.
She responds with "I should have been a great many things."

Growing up I wanted to be a great many things. I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast, a doctor, an interior decorator. When I got a little older I thought I might like to be a psychologist.

Even now I think about all the things I might like to be; a writer, a photographer, a mother, an advocate for orphans, maybe work for an aid organisation, make a difference in this world.

Sometimes in the thinking about the things I could have been, or all I could be, I miss the great many things I already am.

I'm a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend. At work I am a counsellor, a teacher, an encourager, a social skills instructor, and an organiser.

There are a great many things any one of us could be and it can be daunting to think about what it is that God wants us to be doing. I know of a number of people who have felt like they couldn't make a career move for fear of it being wrong, fearing that it wasn't God's plan or the thing He was calling them to.

And if I'm honest, I have struggled with knowing what God is calling me to. But I think why I have struggled and perhaps even gotten it wrong is believing that He only calls us to one thing our entire lives. I think He actually calls us to be a great many things.

I have been a Sunday school teacher, a youth leader, a singer on my church's music team. I have helped out with administration and organising events and I have been on prayer teams.

Our lives are a journey, and I don't know that God calls us to do one thing, but to a great many things during our journey here on Earth.

We can do a great many things, and we should do a great many things, and not be afraid of failing or getting it wrong.

At least we can rest easy in the truth that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

All the options of what we could do can be daunting, but each one of us can do a great many things, and be a great many things!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


6 Weeks until we leave for the USA!!!! So excited. I have started to put together a list of things to pack, things I need to get before we go, things to be done around the house before we leave. It is getting pretty long!

We celebrated a 4th birthday with a party on Sunday afternoon - our niece Ruby.

She had such a good afternoon!

Dave had to get stitches today after cutting his hand on a light at work. He's now all annoyed because the school is making him fill out all sorts of incidents forms like it was a big accident!!

I have been having trouble sleeping for the last week or so. I keep waking up with all sorts of things going through my mind - our holiday, things to be done, work - it's really exhausting me! I am going to leave a notebook and pen next to my bed tonight so every time my brain goes crazy with thoughts, I'll write them down and hopefully I'll be able to rest.

The leaves have been turning reds and golds over the last few weeks and the mornings are sooo cold! I love the trees when they are in all their colourful glory, but I am so looking forward to the American summer in 6 weeks!

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

USA Travel Update 2

Well, we are now (just) under 7 weeks from takeoff!!! Can you say "crazy?!"

We have now booked Anaheim, LA and Indianapolis accommodation. I couldn't believe the deal we got for four nights in Anaheim - bargain! And right across the road from Disneyland, literally a 2 minute walk! So excited - can you tell?!

I would like to book New Orleans, Chicago and Las Vegas before we go, especially while the Aussie dollar is doing so well against the USD.

I have started to lay out just a few things that we will be taking with us on the spare bed. Some things we are taking over for Danon and Chantelle, and a few little things that I think I might want/need over there.

I am dreaming of the summer we will get to experience soon. It has been so frosty here this last week. I have worn socks over my stockings, that are under my pants, to work this week! We just had confirmed last night that the Lum's will be house sitting while we are in Houston, and the house is amazing! It has the most incredible outdoor entertaining area and swimming pool. Need to keep working on my bikini body....pity about the chocolate cake I just ate...mmm mars bar cake...caramel sauce...

where was I?

Summer. Warm air, sunshine, swimming, cute dresses, shorts, sandals - bliss!

Dave has been looking at craigslist for a car for us to buy. He has found a couple in the last few days that are about what we're looking for, but it's so hard when we live in another country! Lucky for us Don will be there soon and can be our man on the ground!

I can't wait for the moment that we step out of LAX and are on our way to the first hotel!

7 weeks and counting!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Phillip Island musings

I thought I would link up to Kelly's Korner Show us Your Life - Vacation Spots. I imagine after our USA holiday that I might have a few new favourite locations to holiday, but my very favourite place is Phillip Island.

Phillip Island is a world famous island here in Victoria, Australia. It has one of the motocross GP's held there and possible even more famous is the penguin parade.

My grandparents have owned a holiday home there for about 15 years (I think!) and so we have been very blessed to be able to stay there at least once a year. I think I would be very hard pressed to find a year we didn't go to "the island", as we call it!

It is only about a two hour drive from home for us (in good traffic - a little longer if the traffic is bad!) so it is the perfect location for long weekends.

When I was growing up we usually also spent at least a week each summer there.

I couldn't find a photo on my computer of the front of our house, but this is the view from the back veranda.

My grandparents house is in the perfect location. We are halfway between the Islands main town (only town, really!) and the famed penguin parade.

The islands main street in Cowes

The above photo is looking up main street, and below is at the end of the street looking out over the bay!

One of our favourite activities on the island is A Maze'N Things - a small activity park with mini golf, a maze, cafe with puzzle tables, and an illusions rooms. We got pretty much every time we go to the island.

Larissa's ball in a rather, um, unpleasant location!

Mirror maze
The outside maze
Another popular attraction is the Nobbies. It is located near the Penguin Parade and you can wander board walks and take in the spectacular coastline, seals lounging on rocks, penguins nesting on the cliffs and check out the blow hole.

penguins under the boardwalk!!

The best part if Phillip Island for me - the beach at the end of our street!!

The beach is quiet, perfect for a walk or families - the only people who use it are those with homes near by.

It is honestly one of my favourite places. I hope you enjoyed!

Friday, May 6, 2011


I am back at work after the almost 3 week Easter Holidays here in Victoria (Oh the perks of working in a school!) and these holidays were pretty unproductive. I usually like to clean the house from top to bottom the first week I have off, but our vacuum cleaner broke, so I waited until my parents went out of town and borrowed theirs for the second week but I just never really got around to using it!

Dave also suffered the loss of his boss the first week of the break and the funeral was held the following Monday, so I think that may have had an effect on my unproductiveness and lack of motivation.

I did however get a fair bit of reading done. I started with “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. It was the second time I have read it and I liked it so much more this time! The first time I read it, it actually made me a little angry! I was not really in a place where I wanted to hear what he was saying. Even as little as 6 months ago I was still caught in the trap of ‘wanting it all.’ I was consumed with saving up for a house, and a baby, and a car. I watched every cent we spent and was frustrated when the bank accounts didn’t grow fast enough, so reading “Crazy Love” was like someone was shining a bright light on all my skewed ideas.

Of course now I have just let go of my desire to control our money (which really was controlling me) and I am now trying to focus more on God and His will and plans for our lives. So this time I loved reading “Crazy Love”.

I then followed that book with “The Hole in Our Gospel” by Richard Stearns. Wow, he just slaps you in the face with Scripture and the Gospel, but in the most gentle and gracious way. Stearns weaves his testimony and continual faith journey with God’s plan for all of us in such an enthralling, captivating way that if you read this book and aren’t changed by it, you might want to start praying! 

Finally, to cap off my light-hearted reading choices for the month I read “Once an Arafat Man” the story of Tass Saada, a Palestinian refugee, who becomes Yasser Arafat’s chauffeur and a member of Palestinian Liberation Organization, and how his life is transformed by an encounter with a Christian man, and with Jesus Christ.

Crazy, crazy story!

Since being back at work for a week now and I miss my leisurely mornings. I miss getting my cup of tea and sitting at the dining table with my Bible, notebook and these books and reading, taking notes, mulling over what I have read, getting lost in ideas and my thoughts.

At least there are still Saturday mornings. Although the alternative is getting up earlier (like 6am!!). I might just have to start to do that!

When do you get in your time with God?

Happy Friday!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Royal Wedding

Aahh, the Royal Wedding!

Like many others around the world I was glued to my TV screen Friday night to watch the wedding of Prince William to his princess, Kate Middleton.

Lydia joined me for the evening and we had an absolute blast - she in her union jack undies, me not in my union jack undies! (I'll spare you the pictures!)

We organised for ourselves a little "tea" for while we watched the wedding. We had sausage rolls, sandwiches, eclairs, cheese and biscuits, heart cakes and a little pink champagne.

Oh, and ring pops!

The height of fashion, I know! Almost as fashionable as the bride.

So stunning!